Well, the time has come for our next expedition! And this time, we headed away from the water, and chose a more land based mode of travel: two electric bicycles. We teamed up with DŌST electric bikes, and on May 1st, we left from Key West, FL in order to attempt to beat the world record for: the longest distance traveled by motorized bicycle. The current record is at over 5,000 miles, and we are attempting to go over 7,000 miles. Don’t let the term “electric” or “motorized” fool you- while it’s much easier than a traditional bicycle, we are still pedaling the whole way, and our bikes are much heavier due to motor, batteries, and build. We are doing this journey completely unsupported, so therefore carry all of our gear on our bikes with us. Kyle is riding the DŌST Kope Chain, and I am riding the DŌST Drop Chain. We have two rear panniers (fancy word for bike bags) each, a bag on our rear racks, and small items on our front rack. We were able to get away without using front panniers which we are happy about, we like to travel light and compact. We plan to travel about 100 miles per day, and stay at developed campsites each night in order to charge the bicycles and all our technology. In order to officially beat the Guinness World Record, we are required to do a wide array of things, including:
-GPS trackers on each bike that must be turned on each morning and off each night
-A log book that is filled out every. single. time. we stop – even just for water, or a quick bathroom break- the log book also has to be signed each night by an independent witness (usually the campground host or park ranger)
-A witness statement book that is filled out periodically by independent witnesses who are local professionals (Guinness really prefers law enforcement) – We had two very nice guys meet us at the starting point in Key West and watched us leave. My parents were also there, but they aren’t considered independent, they might be a little biased 😉 so they don’t count for Guinness.
-The entire thing pretty much needs to be filmed/photographed/time lapsed so we have two GoPros running at the same time
-Keeping receipts and any other stubs along the way
-We can not pedal near each other- we must always be 5 bike lengths away- this is to avoid what is called “drafting”
-A few more items, but the above are the most time consuming
So anyway, needless to say, when we arrive at camp, I spend about 20-30 minutes finishing up the logbook, charging all the technology, and making sure we aren’t missing anything for the Guinness requirements. Kyle sets up camp, gets dinner going, and does any bike maintenance items (lubes the chains, checks tire pressure, etc).
As I write this, we are currently on day 6 of the journey! We have traveled just about 500 miles from Key West to Brooksville, FL in 5 days. Today, we are taking our first zero day. Being that we are only an hour and half from my parent’s in Seminole, they brought the dogs to the campground and we all had a lovely dinner and walk together- which was a great end to our zero day. Our bodies are completely exhausted. Our butts were VERY sore the first few days, but that has subsided and now it’s mostly our legs. Thankfully we have done expeditions like this in the past, so we knew what to expect with the body soreness, and have been having a good time laughing about it as we try to sit down and stand up without moaning.
The journey so far has been wonderful. It’s still early on, but we are both feeling good. We obviously thought we could do this, or else we wouldn’t have set out trying, but now that we’ve been at it 500 miles, we are feeling even more confident and excited than before. The days have been long and hard, but also very beautiful. We have found ourselves on some nice paved bike roads, and otherwise have been on the sides of highways with large shoulders separated by white lines and rumbles. Only a few times, in busy neighborhoods and intersections have we had a hard time with cars. But we both just assume that every car is going to potentially hit us (a bit negative, I know) but that allows us to be more defensive and on high alert.
Something I am just beginning to notice, that I have been looking forward to, is that I am starting to slow down. The first couple days I felt like I just wanted to get to the campsite. Just get there and be done. But as a few more days have passed, I have begun to slow down and enjoy the days. Not focus on getting to the campsite, but rather on making miles and enjoying the day as I go. This is something that is hard to do, especially when we are so used to to-do lists and the hustle bustle. Like we always need to arrive somewhere- well that’s something I have dealt with. So now, I am using this trip as a growing experience. A reminder to just be in the present moment, making progress towards the goal, but enjoying the moments that make up the progress. I am also loving being in nature all day and night. I love sleeping outside, so close to the earth. Being surrounded by trees and greenery. Lakes and streams. It’s such a contrast to the ocean. To the endless blue. This is like a tunnel of green.
Anyway, it’s only been 6 days of a 90 day journey, and I am still processing everything, while also adjusting to all the technology, log books, and physical labor that comes with attempting to beat a world record. I look forward to using this space to reflect on our journey and what we learn along the way. Starting next week, I am going to try and keep more of a daily log/journal in order to remember the funny moments, the low moments, and all the in between. Below is some footage from the first 500 miles- stay tuned!
P.S. A huge thank you to all our friends and family for your help in making this happen. And to DŌST bikes for providing the bikes to make this happen! We couldn’t have done it without all of you guys. A special thank you to my parents for driving us the 8 hours to Key West with our bikes and all our gear, filming us take off, and driving 8 hours back!